You are hereFrom the Pastoral Staff -—Deacon John

From the Pastoral Staff -—Deacon John

Updated 10/11/2017

“Come to the feast of heaven and earth! Come to the
table of plenty!

… My bread will ever sustain you through days of sorrow and woe. My wine will flow like a sea of gladness to flood the depths of your soul.” These lyrics are from Dan Schutte’s song “Table of Plenty” I think they highlight why we should make the time now in our busy lives to do some soulful living so we’re prepared for the great banquet in heaven that awaits us! In today’s Gospel Jesus uses absurd and extreme language in the parable of a wedding banquet as his third attempt to get through to the chief priests and elders. Twice the guests receive and refuse personal invitations. Some invitees are too busy and some even insult
and kill the messengers. Finally the king runs out patience with these no-shows and destroys their town. The king still needs guests for his son’s wedding so the servants go out and round up anyone they can find. Later the king tosses out someone who remains silent unable to explain his inappropriate attire. Sound familiar? I think this plot is often the subtext for any popular reality TV show reflecting the living hell some people put others through for their own personal gain. But the good news is that we have a choice to make. If we accept God’s invitation to faithfully live and serve others today, then we can enjoy the banquet in the Kingdom of Heaven that will go on forever!

There is an ancient Chinese parable about an old man who knew he would die soon. He wanted to know what Heaven and hell were like. He visited a wise man in his village to ask "Can you tell me what Heaven and hell are like?" The wise man led him down a strange path, deep into the countryside. Finally they came upon a large house with many rooms and went inside. Inside they found lots of people and many enormous tables with an incredible array of food. Then the old man noticed a strange thing, the people, all thin and hungry were holding chopsticks 12 feet long. They tried to feed themselves, but of course could not get the food to their mouths with such long chopsticks. The old man then said to the wise man "Now I know what hell looks like, will you please show me what Heaven looks like?" The wise man led him down the same path a
little further until they came upon another large house similar to the first. They went inside and saw many people well fed and happy, they too had chopsticks 12 feet long. This puzzled the old man and he asked, "I see all of these people have 12 feet chopsticks too, yet they are well fed and happy. Please explain this to me. The wise man replied, "In Heaven we feed each other.”

There have been times when I have reluctantly refused invitations because I was too busy trying to find an answer to the wrong question - What? versus Who? I was asking myself “What do I want to be?” But whenever I focused instead on “Who do I want to be?” I found myself doing better feeding and being fed. When I take the time to experience the friendship of Jesus, the Son, it’s hard to refuse the Father’s invitation. It’s all about having a healthy attitude and disposition as a follower of Jesus clothed in God’s love which is always trending beyond any fashion fad. If you really believe and trust in God’s mercy and justice, then there’s no valid excuse to remain silent or refuse to be the person who God is personally calling you to be. Accepting Jesus’ invitation means to redress ourselves in the love, compassion, generosity, and forgiveness that was first given to us at our Baptism with the white garment of our Christian dignity. This best reflects who we are and who God sees us capable of becoming.

This week pay attention to who is inviting you to do what. Before responding, silently pray St. Paul’s words in the second reading “I can do all things in him who strengthens me.” Then you can be sure to have much to joyfully say when someday you are seated at the heavenly banquet table. Don’t miss the party! RSVP *today* to God’s invitation! —

— Deacon John